Duo David Fendick and Jonny Hooker better known as Fossil Collective released their debut album ‘Tell Where I lie’ in April this year. They hail from Leeds, but they have a sound that might have been gestated in some leafy hideaway off California’s Mulholland Drive, steeped in the likes of Crosby, Stills and Nash and Neil Young. The first track, Let It Go, hits a mid-tempo sweet spot which sets the tone for the whole of their album. It and the following track, Under My Arrest, are jangly and upbeat, while the next song up, Boy With Blackbird Kite, verges on Jeff Lynne in its exultant, sun-dazzled mood. Together, the three tunes form a feelgood mini-suite.
The atmosphere darkens somewhat after that, a more urgent and combative tone coming to the fore in the single Wolves and When Frank Became An Orb, which strays rather too close to Young with its aggressive nasal warbles and its question, “Are you ready for the conflict?” (one c-word away from asking if we’re ready for the country). Brother, meanwhile, with its hushed harmonies and its theme of understanding between siblings, has echoes of Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd. The mid-tempo groove persists though, the album only dropping out of it for three of the ten tracks.
Lyrically, there’s not a whole lot to get your teeth into. These are songs of love and angst that don’t give much away, just laying down enough pointers to establish a mood, be it a sense of grief (Monument) or a feeling of homecoming (The Magpie). With the vocals buried down in the mix, there is a slight impression that Messrs Fendick and Hooker are hermetically sealed in their own world of virtuoso musicianship. But who can blame them? Between them they seem able to brew up no end of catchy melodies, and the production is note perfect, each track individualized with touches of cello or horns or Byrds-style guitar licks that flash like lens-flare in a ’70s road movie. A trip back upon the winding road of time into the rolling uplands of West Coast folk rock.
Review by: Julian White